This is the latest edition of the Teachers' Newsletter sent out by Somerville to our link schools. To be added to the mailing list, please email

10th November 2020

Teachers’ Newsletter

10th November, 2020

Dear all,

We hope term continues to go well at what we know is a busy time of year for you all amidst the chaos of the 2nd lockdown. Please see below for details about upcoming virtual events and resources which may be of interest to your students.

Paths To Law Virtual Event – Kalisher Trust and Wadham College:

3rd December 2020, 17:30-18:30

Are you a Year 12 interested in a career in law?

Join our conversation with Barristers from a range of diverse backgrounds, as they reflect on their unique paths into Law and offer practical advice to all Bar aspirants. The online event brings together legal professionals, and is led by The Kalisher Trust and Wadham College, Oxford. The event concludes with a live Q&A session.

To take part, fill out the short form:

Further details:

Image removed. Paths to Law Flyer.png


International Online Book Club for Y11-13:

The International Book Club is a chance for you to explore foreign language books which have been translated into English with other like-minded, literature-loving students. No knowledge of the original language is required to take part!

For those of you thinking you may like to study languages at university, there will also be a chance to hear more about what this would entail and to ask us your questions. These meetings are a perfect opportunity for you to explore books that aren't on your school syllabus and to engage with some exciting literature in translation.

To take part in the International Book Club, you will need to read a copy of the set book in advance of the session. You may like to make some notes on what you've read - the key themes of the text, anything you liked or disliked about the narrative or characters - that you would like to share during the Book Club.

The dates for the International Book Club for the 2020/2021 academic year are as follows:
Wednesday 16th December 2020
Wednesday 24th March 2021
Wednesday 14th July 2021

(All sessions are free to attend and will take place at 8pm GMT on Zoom.)

We’ve now opened registration for our meeting in December. If you’d like to register your interest in a place for this session, please complete the form on our website by 16th November 2020:

The book we’ll be reading for this session is Under the Tripoli Sky by Kamal Ben Hameda, translated from French by Adriana Hunter. The publisher, Peirene Press, has kindly offered a 30% discount if you purchase the book directly from their website. To claim the discount, use the voucher code "queens" at checkout.

***Please note that if we are oversubscribed for the International Book Club and are required to limit the numbers of attendees, we will select participants based on the contextual data they provide, giving priority to students attending UK state schools.***

 If you have any questions about the Book Club, please contact:

Happy reading!


Target Schools Shadowing Scheme *first session tonight*

Are your students interested in studying Mathematical, Physical, Life and Medical Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities at Oxford? They can attend our virtual subject shadowing evenings to find out more about their options and talk to students studying these subjects. The sessions will consist of a short, introductory presentation, followed by subject specific breakout rooms which will give you an opportunity to talk to a student who studies the same subject as you in greater depth. They will be held from 6pm - 7pm via Zoom on the below dates:

 *Tuesday 10th November (for students interested in MPLS - Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences & Medical Sciences only)*

Tuesday 17th November (for students interested in Social Sciences & Humanities only).

 If you're unsure which category your chosen subject falls into, check out this link:

 Click to apply here, it only takes a minute to sign up. If you have any questions, drop us an email at


English Faculty Teachers’ Conference – 2021:

The English Faculty is delighted to invite you to the second English Teachers’ Conference, held virtually on Microsoft Teams.

 About this Event:

The event is primarily intended for English teachers responsible for years 7 – 13, working in UK state schools. Teachers from sixth form and FE colleges are also very welcome, as are careers advisors and tutors responsible for progression to Higher Education.

The conference will comprise of mini academic lectures, information on English resources to use in the classroom, and advice on supporting your students to make competitive applications to study English at Oxford. New to the conference this year will be a panel discussion where we will invite questions and comments from delegates. Please see the attached programme for your information.

The conference is free to attend, and will take place on Microsoft Teams. If you sign up to attend, we will email the Teams links to you closer to the event date, once registration closes.

Please sign up using this Eventbrite link: The link will give you the option to state your lecture preference and submit any questions or topics for the panel discussion.                       

Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so please do register as soon as you can in order to secure a place, and by no later than 1st December 2020.

 If you have any questions about the event, please email the English Faculty’s Outreach Officer on


St John’s Online Inspire Programme:

St John’s College, as part of Oxford for South East, is excited to announce the Year 10 and 11 Inspire Programme for 2020-21! All Year 10 and Year 11 pupils from non-selective state schools are invited to enrol in this online programme for a series of virtual classes full of articles from the perspectives of various academic subjects, competitions with prizes and GCSE studying tips. Year 11 pupils participating in the programme will also be invited to apply for a summer school at St John’s next summer, while Year 10 pupils will be invited to apply for a summer school in 2022. Full details of the programme as well as the registration form can be found on the St John’s College website here.

 The deadline to sign up is Friday 27 November 2020. If you have any questions, please get in touch at and see the attached pdf document for further details.


Dive into the Big Oxplore essay competition!

Oxplore is delighted to announce the launch of its ocean-themed essay competition for secondary school students in Wales and the South West of England. This is inspired by our latest Big Question: Should we put our ocean first? Here is a downloadable competition poster that you could display in your school. 

 We are inviting students in years 7-13 to write a 750-word response to one of the following essay titles:

  • Was an ‘Age of Exploration’ a positive development in world history?
  • Should we prioritise ocean over space exploration?
  • Should individuals take more responsibility for protecting the ocean?

All entries should be emailed to by 12 noon GMT on 1 December 2020. Please include your name, the name of your school, and your school year.

Entries will be reviewed by our expert judging panel. There will be two age categories: years 7-9 and 10-13. The winners will receive £100 in Amazon vouchers and the runners-up will receive an ocean-themed goody bag.

For more information and guidance, visit


School’s Practical Ethics and Responsibility competition:

Oxford University’s Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics invites you and your school to participate in our second Practical Ethics and Responsibility competition. Students are invited to form teams to present videos discussing an ethical problem and how they think responsibility is involved. Selected entrants will be invited to participate in a fun day of ethics-related events in Oxford,* including debates between teams. Students from any discipline are welcome to compete, and we think it would be of particular interest to those studying philosophy, RE, the sciences and law.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Dr Ben Davies at

* This is, of course, subject to in-person events being appropriate in the context of COVID-19. If an in-person event is not possible, we will hold the event online.

 We would love to hear from you and any interested students. We recommend sending the following message out to your students:

 Are you in years 11, 12 or 13? Interested in the big moral questions? Then Oxford University’s Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics wants to hear from you!

We invite teams of three students to send us videos exploring the role of responsibility in a practical ethics issue. Winning teams will be invited to our event day in March, with talks, debate, and the chance of winning a cash prize.

Submit your video by January 6th, 2021 for a chance to win.

Find more details at

We hope to hear from you!


Digital Resources:

A wide range of digital resources for students and teachers can be found on the university website, and Somerville specific resources can be found on our own website here, including the live subject Q&A sessions with tutors from the recent virtual open days. More resources are being added all the time, so it's worth checking all these pages regularly.


Somerville Virtual Visits:

We’ve updated our form to book in your group of students so if you haven’t yet done so, do use it to book a virtual visit for your students. We’re also happy to video call into your school to give a one-off talk or assembly if you’d prefer – please use the same booking form above.


Chat to our students!

As well as contacting us by email, you and your students can also chat to current Somerville students and academics here on our messaging platform to find out more about courses and life at Oxford.

If you have any ideas or requests for other ways we can support you and your students, please do email us. We’d love to hear from you!

Best wishes,


Hannah and Nuala


Hannah Pack and Nuala Marshall

Access & Outreach Team

Somerville College

Tel: 01865 280632